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The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century IrelandThe cause of Ireland, the cause of Labour$
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Laurence Marley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096013

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096013.001.0001

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‘That link must be preserved, but there are other problems’1: the British Labour Party and Derry, 1942–62

‘That link must be preserved, but there are other problems’1: the British Labour Party and Derry, 1942–62

Chapter:
(p.135) 8 ‘That link must be preserved, but there are other problems’1: the British Labour Party and Derry, 1942–62
Source:
The British Labour Party and Twentieth-Century Ireland
Author(s):

Máirtín Ó Catháin

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719096013.003.0008

This chapter considers the British Labour Party’s connections with Derry, a town whose political, social and economic conditions would grab the world’s attention in 1968 and 1969, catapulting the then Labour government of Harold Wilson into the biggest crisis Britain had seen since Suez. Very little, however, is known about the party’s relationship to Derry in the decades before then. In exploring this period more closely, we gain not only a clearer sense of Labour’s close, one-nationist engagement with the Ulster Unionist government at a local level in these years, but also the degree to which the pragmatic programme of Bevanite socialism, with its tangible advances in health and social welfare provision, attracted labour elements in the town which might otherwise have been expected to gravitate to traditional revanchist nationalism. It was this labour ferment that would, ironically, feed into the civil rights agenda of the 1960s, posing such problems for the Wilson government.

Keywords:   Local history, Civil rights, Sectarianism, Political education/mobilisation

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